A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 40: Not even Close to being the Last Chapter:


Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” – Jane Austen.


My father taught me if you work hard, and you dream big, you’ll always get what you need and succeed in the things that you want. I’m glad, because I need to get married someday, but I want it to be with Alice.” – James Potter.


I don’t know how many times I have to tell everyone, I’m too young for marriage, and I’m not sure I ever want to get married anyway. (Except maybe to James Potter someday).” – Alice Malfoy.


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Walking into her father’s study, Alice Malfoy opened the door and said, “Knock, knock, may I come in?”

Draco looked up from his desk and sucked in a mouthful of air. “Who’s that vision of loveliness coming through my doorway? It can’t be my little girl, because it looks like a grown up, beautiful lady.” He stood up, walked around the desk and took her hand. He brought her hand to his chest and held it over his heart.

Alice smiled and said, “My hands aren’t sticky either, did you notice?”

“Ah, I think I long for the days of sticky hands and runny noses,” Draco waned. He kissed his daughter’s hand and released it. “Your grandmother Malfoy picked out a beautiful gown for you. White, huh?”

"Almost a bit too virginal, don't you think?" she asked with a crooked grin.

He frowned and said, "It damn well better be virginal!" 

She blushed. "Seriously, though," Alice started, "it is pretty." She smiled and then twirled. She even said, “Wee” as she turned. Draco and Alice both laughed. “I was afraid it would look a bit too much like a wedding gown,” Alice concluded.

“Ah yes, when James told us why you walked off by yourself he said something about your wedding fears,” Draco said. “His father almost had an aneurysm when he found out James spoiled the surprise party. It was a wonder to see. I always knew I liked that boy.”

Alice smiled and said, “I was acting like a brat. I’m sorry JP was forced to spoil the party plans to me, and yes, I’ve been thinking about that damn will a lot lately.”

“I didn’t worry about the will until I was almost thirty,” Draco said, going back around to sit at his desk.

“Yes, but you were a fool,” Alice interjected.

“I get no respect at all,” Draco mumbled under his breath. “The point being, darling daughter, is that I never lost faith that something would work out. The thing that I’ve never admitted to a soul, in fact, I’ve only ever alluded to it, but not admitted it outright, is that I always knew in the back of my mind that my mystery woman was Hermione Granger and I hoped against all hopes that she would find me, or that I would find her, before it was too late.”

“What if that was false hope, and it hadn’t worked out the way you wanted it to?” Alice asked.

Draco shrugged and said, “I always knew it would, so I had no contingency plan. I knew the moment that a little girl with sticky hands touched my trouser leg, and offered me a pink flower, that somehow, everything would be alright.”

Alice regarded him with suspicion. “You had no idea who I was back then,” she countered.

“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, and maybe good old Ingrid sent me a little note as a way of a heads up, too.” He smirked.

Alice turned her head slightly, narrowed her eyes and said, “No, you’re lying.”

“Why must you be so much like your mother?” he asked. “You look like me, so can’t you act like me? I tell you, Ingrid McKenzie sent me a note and she told me that I needed to be at that resort, on that bench, at that park, on that very day. I didn’t know why, and I had no clue the note meant that your Mummy would be coming to the resort to come to the banquet.  To tell you the truth, I didn't even really know what to make of the note at the time, even though Ingrid signed the damn thing.”

“May I see the note, I mean, do you still have it?” she wondered.

He nodded, walked over to a large shelf in the corner of the room, took down a small cherry box from an upper shelf, and he opened it with his wand. He riffled through some papers, and then found a yellowed piece of Muggle notebook paper. He handed it to her.

Alice read it and said, “Odd. It does just say to sit on that bench, at that day and time, and that all your wishes and hopes would come true.” She folded the paper up and handed it back to him. “Odd,” she repeated. “She did sign it, as you said, so you had to know, I mean, you knew Mummy married her son Kevin, so you had to suspect who Ingrid was.”

“Yes, but I knew your Mummy married Kevin McKenzie, and I knew Ingrid was his mother, but I didn’t know Mummy had you,” Draco said. “If I had known that, I would have contacted her years earlier, I promise.”

“Oh, Daddy, that doesn’t matter now.” She watched as Draco placed the box back on the shelf and then she hugged him from behind. He looked down at her small hands around his waist. “Did you ever tell Mummy?”

“No.”

“Will you ever tell her?”

“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. He turned his daughter around to face him. “Sweet Alice, don’t worry about marriage at the tender age of 19. Just have a wonderful birthday ball tonight, and come autumn, go to school, have fun there, and live your life. Whitehall will always be here for you, even if I have to curse your little brother to make sure he lets you live here all of your days.”

“While I wouldn't mind you cursing the little prat, that’s not good enough,” she said. “It has to be mine with no strings attached. I don’t care about the rest of my inheritance, but Whitehall has to be mine. It’s mine, Daddy. I can’t explain it, but I remember coming here that summer, even though I was really young, and it was as if I finally had a real home. It has to be mine.”

Draco understood. “Then you’ll just have to get married before you’re twenty five. Marry James Potter someday. I can’t believe I’m saying that, because, . . . ” he paused . . . “Sorry, I had to swallow the bile that rose in my throat, because I know he’s Harry’s son, but the boy has been claiming that he’s wanted to marry you since he was five years old. There, problem solved. Just make sure you name your first born son Draco. That would drive Scarboy insane.” Draco laughed and walked out of the room.

Alice said to herself, “Draco Potter?"  Then aloud she said, "I wish I could laugh about it, but he doesn’t want to marry me any longer.”

Sam walked by the room and said, “Who doesn’t want to marry you?”

“Never mind, and why are you dressed up?”

“I’m coming to your fancy little party tonight!” he gloated. “Grandfather Malfoy said I could, because, and I quote, I’m the heir apparent, and he wants to show me off. I mean, he mentioned something about showing us both off, but I think he loves me more than he does you.”

Alice hissed, walked by her little brother, pushed him so hard that he tumbled over and walked upstairs to find her mother.

She found her mother in her dressing room, getting ready for the ball. “You look pretty, Mummy.”

Hermione turned toward her daughter and smiled. “Your grandmother Malfoy picked out my dress, just as she picked out yours. Of course she picked out dark green. All the Malfoys think there is no other colour besides green, for cripes sakes. You look beautiful. I can’t believe James Potter told you about your surprise party,” Hermione wailed to her daughter. Hermione went over to a safe, and pulled out a tray with some jewelry. She told her daughter to pick out anything she wanted to wear.

Alice picked out a pair of diamond earrings and a small diamond pendant. She was placing the earrings in her ears and she said, “Does Sam have to come tonight?”

“He’s your brother, and it’s your party, so yes. All of the younger kids are coming, but they won’t stay long,” Hermione said, trying to pacify her daughter. “I’m sort of glad James told you about this, because I don’t know how I was going to trick you into putting on this gown and all.”

“Honestly, Mummy, how were you going to keep something like this from me?”

Hermione shrugged. “I’ve never been able to keep anything from you, quite frankly.  I could have let your father come up with something dastardly.  He tricked me into going to my engagement ball with him without knowing it was an engagement ball, so I'm sure he would have thought of something.” She walked toward her daughter and looked at Alice’s reflection in the long mirror and remarked, “You look so lovely, darling daughter.” She came forward and kissed her daughter’s cheek.

Alice faced her mother and said, “Do you promise me this isn’t a marriage ball?”

“A marriage ball?” her father said from the doorway. He leaned against the jamb. “Pshaw! I already told you it wasn’t. Don’t you trust me? Don’t you believe me? Aren’t I usually the paragon of virtue in this family?  Would I ever lie?”

Alice and Hermione laughed.  "Mummy was just reminding me how you tricked her into going to her very own engagement ball on your first date with her, so yes, I believe you would lie."

He ignored their laughter, and accusation, and said, “You’re only 19! I won’t give you away to some bloody, little bugger until you’re at least thirty!”

“Honesty, Daddy, we just discussed this in your study not ten minutes ago!” She looked at her mother and said, “He doesn’t retain a thing you tell him.” Hermione nodded. Alice looked back at her father. “I’d lose Whitehall by then and I already told you why that can’t happen,” she said quietly. Hermione gave Draco a sad look. Draco walked over to their daughter and took her hand.

“Sweet, darling Alice, I’ve tried to be a good Daddy to you, haven’t I?” he asked.

“You’ve been adequate,” she said so seriously that at first he frowned, and then when she smiled and Hermione laughed, he smiled as well. “You know that you’re the best Daddy ever!” she amended, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek.

“Then know that you can count on me,” he promised. “I won’t let you lose Whitehall or your inheritance. We have six years to formulate a plan. I won’t let you waste these years piddling away without a solution, and then at the last minute, have you forced into a marriage of convenience just to save your inheritance, like I had to do.”

“Hey, now I think I’m offended,” Hermione argued from the other side of the dressing room.

“Oh, let me make another amendment,” Draco said. “I waited until it was almost too late, and then I came up with a plan to marry for convenience, to gain my inheritance, but what happened was that instead, I married for love. My marriage ended up being most convenient, because I found my wife and my darling daughter, Alice.” He held his hand out for Hermione.

She walked over to him, smiled, but didn’t take his hand. Instead, she pulled up his tuxedo jacket sleeve and pinched his forearm as hard as she could.

“Brute,” Draco called her, while rubbing his arm.

"Liar," she countered.

"Prude," he said.

“Idiot,” she argued back.

“Muggle-born,” he spat.

“That’s not an insult,” Hermione said with a laugh.

“To some people it is, and I merely thought we were pointing out the obvious,” he joked.

“That would mean you really are an idiot,” she pointed out.

Alice sighed and walked out of the dressing room. Draco closed the door, crept closer to his wife and said, “I thought she would never leave, Love. Now, where were we?” He wiggled his eyebrows and grabbed her hand.

“I just called you an idiot,” she reminded. Hermione reached up to his face, stroked his cheek and then nuzzled the side of his neck with her nose. “You smell nice.”

“I’ve always thought you smelled nice. That very first night, the night Alice was conceived, I thought I knew who you were by your smell first,” he reminisced. He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand. “You smelled like cherry blossoms, and somehow, even with that stupid mask on, I always knew it was you. I fooled myself into thinking you were someone else, but deep in my heart, I knew it was you.”

Alice was listening outside the door.

Hermione placed her head on his shoulder. “My mother made a perfume for me for my twentieth birthday that had cherry blossoms in it. I had one made for Alice tonight that has gardenias. I gave it to her when she was dressing.”

“Hmmm,” he said against her hair, and then kissing her forehead.

“Draco?” she asked. He looked down at her, his arms around her waist, hers tucked between their bodies, on his chest. “If you really, truly thought it was me that night, why didn’t you ever say anything? Why didn’t you try to find me?”

“You were married, and I knew that, and I was afraid, and a coward, and I wasn’t completely sure, and back then I was more afraid of looking like a fool than anything else. In other words, I was stupid,” he concluded. “If I had Ingrid’s little time turner book right now, I would go back, tear off your mask, and tell you that I had loved you for a long time and from that moment on you had to be mine, until the end of time.”

Alice pushed away from the door. She was such a fool! She should have swallowed her pride last year when James told her that he loved her and told him that she loved him, too. She had to fix this somehow, without the aid of a time-turner book!  She wouldn't live with regret, the way her father did.



Draco kissed his wife and they held each other for a few more moments until finally one of their servants told them that their guests were starting to arrive. They walked out of Hermione’s dressing room, and Alice was long gone.

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